“While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” Acts 10:44–48
Read Acts 10:1–48
“We must face the sad fact that at eleven o’clock on Sunday morning,” began Martin Luther King, Jr., “when we stand to sing ‘In Christ there is no East or West,’ we stand in the most segregated hour of America.” These words do more than paint a picture of the modern national landscape of the church; they reflect the kinds of barriers that existed in the early church before God intervened.
Acts 10 records an amazing time and transition in the life of the early church. God orchestrated the demolition of the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles by ordaining Peter to meet with Cornelius and to share with him and those present with him these words: “To [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43). God confirmed his acceptance of the Gentiles by visibly pouring out his Spirit on them as he had done previously for the Jews (Acts 10:46; cf. Acts 2:1–4).
God does not show favoritism to any one person or group (Acts 10:34). All men and women have been created in his image and the projected walls that may separate us socially have no room in the church. In Christ, we are all brothers and sisters. Our race, ethnicity, or bank account is not the common denominator for social acceptance in the church—Jesus is.
- God dramatically displayed his acceptance of the Gentiles. What does this event in church history mean for us today?
- This event reveals that God accepts all of us based on what his Son has done for us. Do you struggle with accepting certain people groups? Are there certain behaviors, appearances, or customs that cause you to distance yourself from people? If so, how do you think this compares to God’s acceptance of us through Christ?
- Is your relationship with God up one day and down the next? Do your actions influence how you think God feels about you? How does this event encourage you to understand that God’s relationship with us is based on the works of Jesus?
This devotion is adapted from the Acts Study Guide: Chapter 6–11. Pick up a copy today for only $9.99. The Study Guide includes an 11-week curriculum with small group studies, group inductive studies, as well as 55 daily devotions for your personal or family worship.